To my non-Donatist Baptist Friend, Mark

February 24, 2006

Thanks for the kind comment about the posts on reading, Mark. And thanks for your questions. Sadly, the answer is that sometimes Presbyterians are lax in our attitudes towards church membership, though when we are it is a betrayal of our historic understanding of biblical polity rather than a consistent working out of it.

I often tell my interns that you and I are aiming for the same thing in terms of a healthy local chuch. We want to see a regenerate, baptized adult membership – all of whom can be accurately characterized as Christian disciples. Now, of course, the differences come in how we view the status of the children of believers in the local church, but our goals for cultivating adult discipleship are the same.

As for Donatism, no, of course not. Baptists are simply asking that people be baptized and have a credible profession before they come to the Lord’s Table. That is the Christian position. The debate is not over that being an unreasonably stringent requirement, but what constitutes baptism. But, you know this better than me!